Considering the high unemployment rate, Democrats have chosen a curious message with which to assail GOP House incumbents: You’re fired.
At a press conference with top-tier Democratic candidates on Friday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel unveiled “pink slips” Democrats will disseminate in their districts, saying they will “fire” Tea Party lawmakers.
“They came to work, and they hardly worked, and when they did, they worked for the wrong people,” Israel said of the freshman GOP House class, speaking at a podium labeled “FIRE the Tea Party Republican Congress.”
“When you do damage on the job, you get fired. When you don’t perform, you get fired,” Israel said. Pointing to Congress’s 13 percent approval rating, he added, “I ran a small business. If one of my employees was right only 13 percent of the time, I’d fire them.”
Top-tier, “Red to Blue” program candidates echoed Israel’s comments, telling reporters why it’s time for Republicans to “get the pink slip,” citing national issues like women’s health and business tax loopholes.
Asked whether they’d ever actually fired someone, 12 of the 17 Democrats on the stage said they had.
Republicans used a similar messaging campaign in 2010, when the Republican National Committee ran a “Fire Pelosi Bus Tour,” aimed at turning races across the country into referendums on then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Democratic House majority. Speaking about choosing insurance providers, rather than voting on members of Congress, Mitt Romney drew criticism in January for saying he likes “being able to fire people.”
Israel would not say how many House seats he thought Democrats would pick up in November, but he expressed confidence that his party can win a majority in the House. Using a field-goal analogy, he said: “We’ve got the ball on their 20 yard line. The next 20 yards will depend on whether you have the wind with you … We have a wind at out backs.”
The DCCC chairman has advised candidates to run localized races, and, despite his own references to Mitt Romney’s “47-percent” comments, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, and Medicare, he said that’s still his advice. “The guidance that we gave our candidates still holds,” Israel said. “Run like a mayor.”
Nonetheless, Israel predicted an effect on House races from the Romney fundraiser videos. “Mitt Romney has been a majority-maker for Democrats,” Israel said. Asked whether Democratic candidates would mention the 47-percent remarks on the trail and in ads, Israel said, “The answer is yes. We’re going to hold Republicans accountable–not just for those statements, but for the policies that effectuate those statements.”
Speaking with ABC News, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., downplayed the prominence of Romney video footage in ads, saying the focus will be on policies.